The former Department of the Environment has commissioned 35 applied geological mapping studies dealing with land-use planning in a range of geological and planning environments. These were carried out in England and Wales between 1983 and 1996. Using geological maps as a base these studies have developed two types of applied geological maps: thematic maps dealing with particular topics and summary maps bringing together many of the earth science factors relevant to planners and developers. The recommendations made by Geomorphological Services Limited (GSL) in 1985 in a previous review of these studies are summarized. The output, type and range of information, and its potential users are compared. Each study is assessed, with respect to the GSL recommendations, in terms of its content and usefulness, based in part on how it has been received by users. The main types of summary and thematic maps are described and guidance given on their content and presentation. The importance of maps in providing the key interface between earth scientists and planners is discussed, in particular the significance of map scale, use of colour and accuracy of the geological lines. Good practise is illustrated by reference to examples.